Michael York as D’Artagnan in “The Three Musketeers” (1973) – reviewed by George

As you would expect from director Richard Lester, while the book is followed, a lot of humor is injected into the proceedings. This is an adventure-comedy version.
It starts with a really rough fencing (or dueling) lesson from father to son. Then D’Artagnan’s dad (Joss Ackland) gives his gifts and some advice: watch out for the Cardinal – he rules France through the King.
On the road to Paris D’Artagnan stops at an inn where Rochefort (Christopher Lee) and his men are playing a bowling game, throwing balls at portraits of courtly ladies. Where’s #MeToo when you need them? D’Artagnan takes offense when Rochefort says his horse looks like a buttercup (in this film the horse looks pretty good), and when Rochefort won’t lower himself to fight with a clod, other clods in the yard are happy to do so, if they can approach D’Artagnan from behind. Sword broken, money and letter to M. Treville gone, and apparently the horse too, he walks to Paris and shows up at Musketeer headquarters looking (and probably smelling) hard-used. He is in a hurry (habitually) and blunders into Athos (Oliver Reed), then Porthos (Frank Finlay), then Aramis (Richard Chamberlain), and the duels are set. They meet but before the first duel can begin (with Athos, who is wounded and will fight left-handed), the Cardinal’s Guard shows up, led by Jussac (Angel Del Pozo) who announces their intention to arrest the three Musketeers (not interested in the bumpkin). D’Artagnan will not be put off and they fight 4 to 6. After wiping up the site with the Guards, the purse of one is divided among the four, and D’Artagnan buys clothes that closely resemble the Musketeer uniform, hires a servant, Planchet (Roy Kinnear), and checks out a room in the house of M. Bonacieux (Spike Milligan). He tells Bonacieux that it is a pigsty until he sees Madame Bonacieux (Raquel Welch), and then he takes the room, despite the info Bonacieux gives him that his wife Constance is in service to the Queen and is only home one night a week.
From this point the plot continues to proceed as we expect, but with a lot of physical comedy added. The cast is truly a marvelous surprise: the King and Queen are played by Jean Pierre Cassel and Geraldine Chaplin, Treville by Georges Wilson, the Duke of Buckingham by Simon Ward, and Milady De Winter and Cardinal Richelieu by Faye Dunaway and Charlton Heston.
I was very impressed with the Jeremy Brett version, but this is a delight, the best version so far, with the Lester touch and impeccable performances by a dynamic cast.
Filmed on Location in Spain and Finished at Twickenham Studios, Twickenham, England, Music by Michel Legrand, Based on the Novel by Alexandre Dumas, Screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser, directed by Richard Lester.

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